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Government Relations


Welcome to the CWU Office of Government Relations. Our website is an important part of our commitment to transparency and accountability in public higher education. If you don't see what you need here, please contact us at 509-963-2111 and we'll get you the information you need.

Our office serves as CWU's official liaison with local, state, federal and elected officials for regulatory, budget, and policy matters of all kinds. We can help direct you to the right contact and provide critical background about legislative districts, pending policy issues, and current CWU data.

2019 Legislative Priorities


1. Mental Health Services - $2.5 million to expand mental health treatment capacity

CWU joins all public universities in Washington in making expansion of student mental health care a top priority in the 2019-2021 budget. Over the past five years, the number of new counseling clients at CWU has increased 243 percent; since 2015, mental health-distress referrals have increased 75 percent. In the 2017-2018 school year, Student Counseling Services provided nearly 6,200 individual and group counseling appointments to CWU students. CWU proposes to

    1.  Hire counseling staff and case managers, in order to reduce referral of students to limited community resources.

    2.  Create master’s-level practicum that provides counseling services to students and community members.

    3.  Hire a psychiatrist to address complex behavioral and mental health issues.

    4.  Launch a public information campaign to educate the public about mental health symptoms and services.


2. Aviation Expansion -$5.3 million in one-time funds to purchase 10 airplanes and four flight simulators

Due to the shortage of commercial pilots, CWU proposes to dramatically increase teaching capacity in its BS Aviation degree program, the only baccalaureate aviation program in the Pacific Northwest. The program is experiencing record growth. In fall 2009, the BS Aviation had only 150 student majors; in fall 2018 there are an estimated 250 majors, with additional geometric growth potential in the immediate future. In order to be able to expand the program to meet the current demand, CWU will need to purchase 10 aircraft and four simulators.  The CWU Aviation program graduates enjoy an industry placement rate of 100 percent. CWU Aviation has signed direct-hire, scholarship, and internship agreements with ExpressJet Airlines, Alaska/Horizon Airlines, Mesa Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, and PSA Airlines.


3. Game On! -  $584,000 to double participation in an innovative pathway for under-served students to the state’s digital workforce.

Central Washington University has developed a very unique partnership with Microsoft and Spain’s Real Madrid Soccer Foundation to provide STEM and leadership training to under-served students in central Washington. CWU successfully piloted the program in the spring quarter of 2016 and is now serving nearly 250 girls and boys in middle-and high-school in the Yakima area. Students in the CWU Game On! Program, the majority of whom are Hispanic, are given the opportunity learn and practice computer coding under the tutelage of Microsoft as well as participate in hands on leadership, nutrition and soccer training with Real Madrid trainers. The budget request would enable the partnership to double the number of students


4. Teacher Shortage Solutions - $3.2 million to address Washington’s K-12 teacher shortage

More than 90 percent of Washington K-12 principals say they are struggling to retain and hire teachers. Eighty percent have employed teachers with emergency teaching certifications, and 29 percent have teacher positions that were not filled. Nearly 75 percent of principals reported they themselves have had to cover a classroom in the past week because a substitute was not available.The region with the most critical need is central Washington, where with 34 percent of schools report they are in crisis mode for certified teachers and 68 percent are in crisis mode for substitutes.

CWU’s School of Education proposes to increase the output of certified teachers by:

    •  Establishing teaching academics in high schools to enhance recruitment and to encourage more diverse students to enter the profession

    • Creating scholarships for mandatory WEST B tests

    •  Using remote conferencing technology to place student teachers in remote districts

    • Increasing capacity in teacher preparation programs

    •  Expanding alternative certification, high-demand endorsements at CWU University Centers, student scholarships, and technology to supervise student teachers in remote schools

CWU is eager to illuminate the issues, programs, and individuals that make the university a wonderful educational institution and valuable state asset.  Budget and issue summaries are available here. Linda, Steve, and Antonio will be happy to track down any additional information you may require.


Meet Our Legislative Team


Linda Schactler, Chief of Staff: 509-963-1384; (M) 509-607-4103;

Linda coordinates work on the priorities of the Office of the President, including local, state, and federal governmental relations.  As Secretary to the Board of Trustees, she organizes and supports the work of the board.  Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. She worked in commercial radio and television as news reporter, producer and announcer. Linda ran her own Olympia-based public affairs firm for a decade, providing crisis- and issue-management services for a variety of clients. She holds a BA in English Literature from WSU and an in MA in English Literature from Washington University, St. Louis.

Steve DuPont, Director of Government Relations: (M) 509-201-0528;

Steve has been on CWU's Government Relations team since 2008.  He was the Vice President for Political Affairs for the Associated Students of Central Washington University in 2006 and 2007. Steve served on the Washington Student Lobby Board of Directors and was awarded the President’s Cabinet Award in 2007 for his effective advocacy on behalf of students. Steve holds a BS in Construction Management from CWU and an MEd in Higher Education from the University of Arkansas. 

Antonio Sanchez, PhD, Director of Intergovernmental and International Relations: (M) 206- 383-6980,

Antonio the CWU government relations team in 2015. Antonio earned his doctorate from the University of Washington and has more than 20 years of legislative background. He served as a senior legislative analyst with the Washington Legislature, where for a number of policy areas, including higher education, health care, international relations, and economic development. Antonio also was a faculty member in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the UW, where he taught Hispanic studies for six years.

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